Astragalus belongs to the legume family of plants. It’s also known as Huang qi or milk vetch. Astragalus is a Chinese herb that has been used for centuries to assist the body in combat stress and other ailments. It is known as a miracle herb, and the potent extract derived from this root has been utilized as medicine for thousands of years. It’s also utilized as a natural weight-loss aid. Astragalus’ most well-known health advantage is its ability to improve the immune system and energy levels. It has a number of health benefits and is known to aid in the treatment of conditions such as the common cold, diabetes, upper respiratory difficulties, arthritis, asthma, and high blood pressure. Because it is an adaptogen, Astragalus is becoming increasingly popular in the West. Adaptogens have the ability to adapt their function based on the body’s individual needs. Adaptogenic herbs like Astragalus adapt to the needs of the body, which is why they can help us deal with a wide range of issues.
Traditional Chinese medicine’s Astragalus membranaceus (A. membranaceus) has a long history of clinical application. It is used as medication and food to energize the spleen and replenish qi in the treatment and improvement of many ailments. Astragalus polysaccharide (APS), flavonoids compounds, saponins compounds, alkaloids, and other chemicals are the primary components of A. membranaceus. The most major natural active component in A. membranaceus is APS, which has a wide range of pharmacological activities. APS currently has a significant potential for developing a medicine that will improve or treat a variety of ailments. Astragalus membranaceus extract contains anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, anticancer, hypolipidemic, antihyperglycemic, hepatoprotective, expectorant, and diuretic properties. TA-65, a proprietary extract of the dried root of Astragalus membranaceus, has been linked to a strong immune system age-reversal impact.
One of the most widely used herbal remedies is A.membranaceus. It is known as “Huangqi” in China. It is used as medication and food in traditional Chinese medicine to energise the spleen and replenish qi. Astragalus polysaccharide (APS) is a form of bioactive water-soluble heteropolysaccharide isolated from the stems or dried roots of Astragalus membranaceus. Polymeric carbohydrates are generally linked by -type glycosidic linkages between the monosaccharides, and the components are complex and diverse. APS, which has a variety of pharmacological activities, is the most important natural active component in Astragalus membranaceus. APS has been widely used due to its low toxicity and side effects, non-residue, and non-tolerance.
Benefits of extracts of Astragalus membranaceus
1.Regulation Effect of APS on Immunity
APS affects immune function by increasing the immune organ index, encouraging immune cell proliferation, stimulating the release of cytokines, and influencing immunoglobulin (Ig) secretion and immunological signal transmission.
Influences on Immune Organs
APS can raise organ weight, improve organ index, and accelerate the growth of partial visceral organs by acting on numerous immune organs.
Influences on Immune Cells
The effects of APS on immune cells include an increase in B lymphocyte and T lymphocyte proliferation and differentiation, modulation of the T lymphocyte subgroup balance, and regulation of natural killer cells and macrophages. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a crucial role in the immune system’s activation. According to studies, APS helps DCs grow and mature, as well as their antigen-presenting capacity, while also lowering their endocytosis activity.
Influences on Immune Molecules
Influences on Cytokines
Under different conditions, APS has different impacts on cytokines. It can boost cytokine production and boost immunity under normal physiological settings. APS, on the other hand, can lower inflammatory response factors and protect cells or the body after an increase in cytokines as a result of an inflammatory response.
Influences on Ig
APS’s main function in Ig is to mediate immunity via IgA, IgG, and IgM. APS enhanced IL2, IL3, IL4, IFN, IgM, and IgG expression while decreasing IgE expression.
2.Antitumor Effect of APS
By boosting immunity, limiting tumor cell proliferation, causing tumor cell death, and blocking tumor cell transfer, APS demonstrates its anticancer effects.
Inhibiting the Proliferation of Tumor Cells
APS has been shown in studies to drastically reduce tumor cell growth by downregulating the expression of cyclin B and cyclin E and upregulating the expression of p21. APS was able to suppress the proliferation of human erythroleukemia K562 cells. The growth and proliferation of human gastric cancer cells MKN45 were also reduced by APS in a dose- and concentration-dependent manner. The blocking of MKN45 cells in the G0-G1 phase via influencing the cell cycle is the mechanism behind this process.
Promoting the Apoptosis of Tumor Cells
APS has the ability to greatly increase tumor cell death. According to research, APS can cause apoptosis in MCF-7 and 4T1 cells by disrupting the G1 phase of the cell cycle.
Inhibiting the Metastasis of Tumor Cells
By lowering the levels of matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2), APS can effectively prevent the metastasis of C33A cells in cervical cancer. Furthermore, APS dramatically reduces the ability of cervical cancer C-4I cells to migrate and invade.
3.Regulation of Blood Glucose by APS
APS has been proven in studies to lower blood glucose levels, boost insulin sensitivity, improve insulin resistance (IR), and prevent islet cell death. It’s also important in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (DM) and the complications that come with it.
4.Improve Heart Function
When people with specific heart diseases take astragalus, their heart function improves. It is believed to expand blood arteries and increase the amount of blood pumped from the heart.
5.Alleviate Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy includes a slew of unfavorable side effects. Some of these can be alleviated with the use of Astragalus. Astragalus is taken intravenously to reduce nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in those receiving chemotherapy.
6.Control Blood Sugar Levels
In those with type 2 diabetes, the active components in the astragalus root aid to reduce blood sugar levels. In fact, in China, it has been identified as the most commonly prescribed herb for diabetes treatment. Sugar metabolism and blood sugar levels have both been found to be improved by astragalus. It also helps in losing weight.
7.Improve Kidney Function
Astragalus improves blood flow, which benefits kidney health.
Proteinuria is a condition in which abnormally high levels of protein are detected in the urine, indicating that the kidneys are injured or not functioning properly.
Proteinuria in kidney illness has been proven to improve with astragalus.
It also aids in the prevention of infections in those who have impaired renal function.
Other Potential Health Benefits
Much preliminary research on astragalus suggests that it may have further potential benefits, including:
• Improves chronic fatigue symptoms: When coupled with other herbal remedies, astragalus may help persons with chronic fatigue syndrome.
• Astragalus lowers sneezing and runny nose in people with seasonal allergies.
Side Effects of Astragalus
Astragalus is well tolerated by the majority of people.
Minor side effects, such as a rash, itching, runny nose, nausea, and diarrhea have been reported.
Astragalus may have more serious side effects when taken via IV, such as irregular pulse. Only under medical supervision should it be given through IV or injection.
Who Should Avoid Astragalus?
Although astragalus is generally safe for most people, it should be avoided by the following people:
• Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding: There is presently insufficient evidence to show that astragalus is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
• People with autoimmune diseases: Astragalus may boost your immune system’s activity. If you have an autoimmune condition like multiple sclerosis, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, you should avoid astragalus.
• People on immunosuppressant drugs: Because astragalus increases immune system activity, it may reduce the side effects of immunosuppressant treatments.
Blood sugar and blood pressure levels may be affected by astragalus. As a result, if you have diabetes or blood pressure problems, utilize this herb with caution.